Little improvement seen in wildfire situation in Queensland

map wildfires in Queensland, Australia
Satellite photo showing smoke from wildfires in Queensland, Australia November 29, 2018. NASA

Firefighters in Queensland are expecting another five days of exceptionally hot and dry weather. There are 130 fires currently burning, with about seven of them described as fast moving and significant.

Hundreds of firefighters have arrived from New South Wales and other areas to lend a hand.

An evacuation order remains in place for Deepwater, while a number of areas including Dalrymple Heights, Winfield, Carmila and Captain Creek are being urged to “stay informed”.

Record temperatures are forecast for Longreach in excess of 45 C (113 F) in the coming days before the heatwave is expected to move down to the southeast next week.

The premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has been monitoring the situation closely and is helping to spread important information to the residents of her state.

Queensland experiences “catastrophic” wildfire danger for the first time

Deepwater Fire Queensland
Firefighters battle the wildfire near Deepwater in Queensland. F&ES photo.

Firefighters and residents of Queensland in northeast Australia are figuring out how to deal with unprecedented conditions — 135 wildfires all burning at the same time during very hot, windy conditions. Fire officials have elevated the fire danger to a level previously unseen in the state, “catastrophic”. Evacuations are underway in several communities.

Queensland fire danger
The Queensland Bureau of Meteorology wrote in their tweet with this image: “Fire 🔥 Danger Ratings have reached Catastrophic for the first time in #Queensland due to the combination of a very dry, hot airmass and strong, gusty westerly winds. Follow the advice of @QldFES during these extremely challenging fire weather conditions.

This is supposed to be the wet season in Queensland.

Katarin Carroll, Commissioner of Queensland F&ES
Katarin Carroll, Commissioner of Queensland F&ES at briefing November 26, 2018.

In a public briefing Wednesday evening, Katarin Carroll, Commissioner of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, said they saw this coming and began ordering additional firefighting resources from New South Wales and other states last week. The forecast calls for the extraordinarily hot and dry weather to continue in Queensland through Tuesday, December 4. Meanwhile farther south, New South Wales is receiving large quantities of rain, causing flooding in some areas.

This is normally the dry season in NSW.

In the video below Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland, begins the November 26 evening briefing about the fire situation, followed by Commissioner Carroll.

Wildfires are affecting a number of areas in Queensland, including Campwin Beach, Sarina Beach, Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach, Oyster Creek, Caloundra, Gracemere, Eungella, and Kowari Gorge.

Fires Queensland satellite photo
Satellite photo of smoke from the fires in Queensland, Australia, November 26, 2018. Since then clouds have made it difficult to obtain a good image of the area. NASA

Thunderstorm initiated by a wildfire

This time-lapse video of the pyrocumulus cloud over the Sedgerly Fire in Queensland, Australia is fascinating. According to the description by the Bushfire Convective Plume Experiment it shows a thunderstorm initiated by the fire. If you look closely you will see rain and lightning.

Wildfire briefing, November 21, 2014

FDNY Incident Management Team deploys to Buffalo, NY

The New York City Fire Department’s Incident Management Team has deployed to Buffalo, New York to assist in the organization and management of snow removal efforts following this week’s record snowfall. Friday morning at 5:45 the team departed from the Randalls Island Fire Academy after being requested by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and in coordination with the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

The FDNY saw the benefits of an IMT when they received help from Type 1 interagency IMTs after the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. Soon thereafter they began training personnel to fill the positions for a team. Since then, the FDNY IMT has responded to multiple national emergencies including forest fires; to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina; in Broome County, NY following Hurricane Irene and in New York after Hurricane Sandy.

Leaf burning leads to felony charge

A 74-year old man was charged with a felony after his leaf burning caused a wildfire north of Allentown, Pennsylvania on November 4. A police officer used a fire extinguisher to keep the fire, which had spread to within eight feet of a neighbor’s garage, from burning the structure.

“[Dale] Schaeffer failed to call the police or fire department, and continued to let the fire burn out of control in a reckless and dangerous manner,” the officer wrote in his affidavit of probable cause.

Mr. Schaeffer was arraigned Thursday before District Judge Robert Hawke on a felony charge of reckless burning and summary dangerous burning.

Grass fires occurring in Oklahoma

Cured grasses in Oklahoma are providing fuel for an increased number of wildfires in the state.

Brush fire at nudist resort

Firefighters suppressed a wildfire at the Sunny Rest Lodge on Thursday, in Carbon County, Pennsylvania.

Country Fire Service to cease aerial firefighting if a drone is spotted

State aviation operations manager David Pearce said South Australia’s Country Fire Service will cease all aerial operations at bushfires if an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is spotted in the area.

“Helicopters are particularly susceptible,” Mr Pearce said.

“If the drone is sucked into the intake of the jet engines, or goes into the tail rotor, then it’s probably curtains for the helicopter.”

Gyrocopter crash kills pilot, starts fire

The crash of a gyrocopter near Gatton in Queensland, Australia killed the pilot and started a bushfire on Friday.

Queensland helicopters to go high tech

QGAir Rescue
QGAir Rescue. Photo: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

From itnews:

The Queensland (Australia) Government has invested $1 million to install screen sharing technology in its Kedron emergency services hub as well as five helicopter bases across the state.

The new kit – based on Cruiser Interactive technology – will allow Queensland Government Air (QGAir) teams across the six sites to share the same view of incoming data and emergency monitoring, and to switch between different screen views with a flick of the wrist.

Interactive screens have been set up in the co-ordination sites, onto which information from phones, tablets and PCs can be displayed.

Aero-Flite moving to Spokane

The company that operates Avro RJ-85 air tankers is moving from Kingman, Arizona to the airport at Spokane, Washington. Aero-Flite announced Thursday that it is moving its corporate headquarters and air tanker fleet to Spokane International Airport.

More information about Aero-Flite’s move is at Fire Aviation.